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A waste of time

June 29,2019
A bizarre video from a convention for female members of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) has gone viral with repercussions spilling beyond the political realm. In the video of a stage performance by women from a South Gyeongsang branch of the party, the performers end their choreography by showing off their underwear and wiggling to flash the words “LKP victory” to a roaring audience. One of the people in the audience, LKP chair Hwang Kyo-ahn, was so pleased that he said he wanted to invite them to every party gathering. The female-only event was aimed to encourage more women to participate in politics. But few would want to join a party that exhibits women in such a way.

The legislature has been idle for long despite the worsening economy and security challenges. Much of the fault lies with the main opposition, which has been boycotting the parliamentary schedule. The LKP agreed to normalize the legislature in a meeting of floor leaders and broke the promise just two hours later. There are rumors that the party walked out of the deal after linking its return to the National Assembly to the ruling Democratic Party’s calling off of prosecutorial probe charges on some of its members.

Hwang has faced a series of controversies. His comment about his son getting a job without decent qualifications has angered young people in their hopeless job search because they considered it was a exceptional a case involving a political heavyweight.

The LKP was defeated in all three major elections — legislative, presidential and local elections — over the last three years. The general election in April next year is its last chance to recover. It has repeatedly promised to reinvent itself by recruiting young people and presenting new political leadership. But nothing has changed.

It approached baseball legend Park Chan-ho and famed surgical doctor Lee Kuk-jong, but they all refused to be connected with the conservative party. The party floated their names even before tapping their opinions. Such behaviors show that the conservative party still sticks to its old ways of doing business.

The approval rating for the LKP that once hovered in single-digit territory has gone over 20 percent. But the improvement does not reflect the public’s approval, but its hopes for an opposition against the ruling party amid worsening livelihoods. But the opposition cannot go beyond as it falls way short of public expectations.

What the party needs is not a wiggly dance about an election victory. It seriously requires a radical makeover. It can hardly win the next election if it does not change.

JoongAng Ilbo, June 28, Page 30